A big hello to all residents of the Wombourne Parish! As your outgoing Parish Council Vice-Chairman, I must say these are exciting times. Not only are we starting a new year, with Parish Councillors appointed to new roles, particularly the election of a new Chairman and Vice-Chair, but we are also closing down the Parish Council that has been in place for the last four years, holding both Parish and District elections, and opening a new Parish Council.
The start of this new four-year cycle is indeed inspiring, and I look forward to welcoming new and returning Councillors at the first meeting in June. At the time of writing, the election is still ongoing, and we still do not know the make-up of the new Council, and so the first meeting of the new session really will be a fresh, invigorating experience.
However, not all recent events have been so positive. We are now mourning the loss of our longstanding friend and colleague, Councillor Mary Bond. Her passing has come as a very great shock, and my thoughts, along with that of all of my colleagues, are very much with her husband, Councillor Barry Bond at this time.
It strikes me as unfortunate that, at the same time we are mourning her passing, we are still seeking election and working towards the formation of a new Council – in many ways it feels highly inappropriate. Yet Mary was nothing if not a dedicated public servant, and whilst we do rightly take the opportunity to reflect where we can, it does seem to me fitting that we honour her memory by continuing towards forming a committed and hard-working Council. She was determined to improve her local community, and we should strive to be as committed and effective. As such, our newly elected Parish Councillors will have big shoes to fill.
Mary Bond will be greatly missed.
At this point, it seems hardly right, but I really ought to introduce myself. I have lived in the Parish for a little over four years and live with my partner Hannah who works in the village. However, I am even now still getting to know the village, and getting to know lots of new people – as such, I am still learning. As a recent graduate from the University of Wolverhampton, I now work in the same institution as a History teacher – a job I thoroughly enjoy. Being in a position where I can help to broaden horizons, encourage, facilitate and ultimately educate and inspire new generations of students is extremely important to me, and it is no coincidence that this passion also drives me to participate in public life, representing my friends, neighbours and local residents.
There are a number of things I am particularly passionate about – History, politics and Cricket being chief amongst these. I have run my local club as a senior committee member for fourteen years now, and am equally insistent on the benefits of sport and recreational activity, as well as the vital social interaction that it necessitates.
I am eagerly looking forward to spending the next year representing my Parish, getting to know many more new faces no doubt, and working with my fellow Councillors for the continued benefit of Wombourne.
I would like to specifically thank our outgoing Chairman, Councillor Mary Roberts. It has been an absolute pleasure shadowing her for the last year. She has been thoughtful and supportive, providing me with ample hints and tips that will certainly come in handy over the next twelve months. She has been a dedicated and hard-working Chairman, and will – as with her own predecessor – be a hard act to follow. Mary, thank you.
One of the central parts of the Parish Council’s duties is engaging with the many and varied community and voluntary organisations that operate within the Parish. Not least due to my own years of experience as a volunteer, I relish the opportunity to get to know many of these better over the coming year. We have a vibrant and thriving volunteer community here in Wombourne, and this deserves to be celebrated. It is fitting therefore, that the Parish Council hosts an annual Civic Reception to honour these groups, and bestows an annual Civic Award. I am particularly looking forward to attending and supporting the annual Carnival and supporting the Best Kept Village committee. The results of these, and the tireless work that goes into them, are a credit to our village.
Finally, I would like to encourage you all to continue to engage with your Parish Council. Say hi and talk to us about all the great things that are happening locally, as well as the issues that are affecting you. We are always keen to celebrate new initiatives, creativity and the very best of our village.
Wombourne Parish Council
They say time goes quickly, and certainly in my capacity as Parish Chairman it has. I have enjoyed the past year and would like to thank my fellow Parish Councillors, District Councillors and County Councillor for all their help, support and advice.
Linked to the above, one of my favourite activities was taking part in the Wombourne Carnival. This year the Carnival is on Sunday 7th July and the theme is ‘Bringing Books to Life’ and I know the Carnival Committee are hard at work planning the day around this theme. Please check out their website www.wombournecarnival.co.uk and their Facebook page both of which will be updated with the events of the day.
Earlier this month, a new dementia singing friends group was launched in Wombourne. Taking place every Wednesday from 1pm to 3pm in the Community Room in Wombourne Library, the sessions are relaxed and informal where people affected by dementia and their carers can get together, have a good chat and a laugh while also singing favourite songs or even having a dance. I wish everyone well in this new venture and trust it is well supported.
A new CASS carers’ café in the Brook Room at the Civic Centre in Wombourne will be opening its doors on Wednesday 13 March 2019, from 10.30am to 12.30pm. If you are looking after a family member or friend, join CASS the Carers Association for information, support and advice at their new Café for Carers. Why not pop in for a cuppa and cake on their launch day. More information about CASS The Carers Association, can be found at www.carersinformation.org.uk
We are very fortunate in Wombourne to have so many volunteer organisations and I look forward to meeting representatives at the annual Civic Dinner on 16th March. I hope you support me in giving a massive ‘thank you’ to everyone in these organisations who give up their time on a regular basis to help the community.
I am sure you will have seen the new Best Kept Village logo on this post popping up in Social Media and in and around the Village. It is great to see so many people starting to turn out for their regular litter picks and larger initiatives around the Village. Wishing this committee all the very best for the Best Kept Village competition again this year.
On a different and sad note, we recently lost a past Councillor, Mrs Betty Gough, who served twice on the Parish Council. In her younger days she appeared in many stage productions around Smethwick & Oldbury, as well as being the supporting singer for her husband’s band. I am told Betty was a great advocate for Wombourne and made an impact during her time on the Parish Council. I would like to pass on the Council’s condolences to Betty’s family & friends at this time.
Finally, a reminder that the Annual Parish Meeting will be held on Wednesday 24th April at the Council Chambers at 7:30pm. As ever we look forward to seeing lots of residents on the night.
What an interesting exhibition and talk organised by Wombourne History Group & Wombourne Parish Council on 10th November. The title was ‘2018 – A Time to Remember The End of WW1’. It was great to hear and see information relating to Wombourne and lovely to see so many people attending this free event ahead of Remembrance Sunday. This year there were some additions to the Remembrance Sunday Church Services with thanks to the Armed Forces Covenant “There but not there” campaign. Following the 2014 ceramic poppies at the Tower of London, which represented the 888,246 British and Commonwealth Service men and women who lost their lives in the First World War, the ‘Sitting Tommy’ commemorated the centenary of the end of the 1914-1918 war and those who lost their lives.
A new play area opened in Bratch Park, Bratch Lane in September which is specifically designed for younger children. The need was identified by the Parish Council in 2015/2016 and the children at the four Primary Schools were consulted in relation to what equipment they would like to see. The aerial runway (zip wire) was their number one priority; installed in 2017, with the balance of the items installed and operational in September 2018. A few pictures of the new equipment are on the back page. The car park has now also been resurfaced. The Parish Council would love to hear your feedback on the new equipment, we have seen some posts on Social Media indicating young children are loving it. Please email your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org
As mentioned in a previous article a new local plan for South Staffordshire is being prepared by the District Council. The first stage of consultation took place from Monday 8th October until 5pm on Friday 30th November 2018. An all-day drop-in session was held at Wombourne Civic Centre is on Wednesday 7th November 2018. The plan can be viewed at www.sstaffs.gov.uk/localplanreview
Now Christmas is fast approaching I trust everyone is looking forward to the holidays, hopefully spending time with family and friends. Wombourne Parish Councillors hope you enjoyed the Christmas Light Switch on at the Civic Centre on Friday 30th November The Westfield School Choir sang a great selection of Christmas Carols and Santa was also in attendance.
It is always lovely to feel the Village atmosphere on the Friday evening, with several shops staying open late and crowds of people bustling around. It was great to see lots of people out and about the next day as well, as the first Saturday in December each year is Small Business Saturday. This is a Nationwide initiative to encourage more people to ‘shop locally’. Each year some of the shops and businesses offer up various discounts, some on the day, and some for early in the New Year.
Finally, at that remains is to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Prosperous New Year.
Hopefully everyone enjoyed their Summer holidays which by now may be a distant memory.
Many congratulations to the Chairman and Committee of Wombourne Best Kept Village on coming second in the large village category. This is an incredible achievement with thanks also going to all the many volunteers who have helped in recent months. It is lovely to see the Spar in the centre of the village, consistently allowing some of their staff to help in the litter picks; great community spirit shown by all. Finally, I hope as many people as possible were able to take part in the World Clean Up Day on Saturday 15th September. Check out the new Wombourne Best Kept Village Facebook page for more information https://www.facebook.com/wombourneBKV
It was a pleasure to walk around the businesses in the centre of the Village, plus the various pubs, to judge the Wombourne In Bloom competition. There was a lovely display of flowers and plants at most establishments, all adding to the overall attractiveness of the village. The winner this year is The Round Oak Inn, with Walkers Way in the centre of the village coming a very close second.
In the last blog I mentioned that following feedback from children at a local primary school an order had been placed for additional play equipment at Bratch Park. The new equipment is being installed in September and the car park will also be improved. The Parish Council managed to secure £10,000 of funding to go towards the overall cost of this work. Hopefully there will be some pictures to show in the next blog. Thanks again to County Councillor Mike Davies for organising this project.
We would like to thank everyone who has taken the time to look and comment on this website. It is updated on a regular basis with news in relation to local events, Councillor news and general information. At present you can see pictures of Councillors Barry and Mary Bond at a recent reception with the Prime Minister http://www.wombourneparishcouncil.org.uk/local-councillors-meet-the-prime-minister/
There is also a calendar of upcoming events to be held in the Civic Centre together with photographs of all the various rooms that are available for hire http://www.wombourneparishcouncil.org.uk/civic-centre/
The South Staffordshire Community Innovation Fund details are outlined with grants up to £1,000 being available for all Community and Voluntary Sector organisations. Submissions must be made by 5pm on Friday 28th September 2018. Application forms can be obtained from the Parish Council office on 01902 896300. Please refer to the website for details on what you must have to qualify for submission.
Until next time, Cllr Mary Roberts.
Firstly, I would like to thank my fellow Councillors for their help and support as I start into my role. It is great to have the opportunity to learn from the District Councillors and Councillor Mike Davies who is also our County Councillor. Their help and advice to date has been invaluable.
Continuing a couple of themes from my previous blog; it has been lovely to see so many new people helping the Best Kept Village Committee keep Wombourne as clean and tidy as possible in response to local Social Media posts. Some of you will hopefully have seen the ‘before’ and ‘after’ shots (please see our news page for more information). We wish the Best Kept Village Committee the best of success when it comes to the judging. The annual Best Kept Village presentation evening is on 6th September at the Civic Centre.
The Carnival held on Sunday 1st July, with a theme of ‘Animal Antics’ was an amazing day with a large number people supporting the event. The children and adults on the floats all looked lovely and I bet some were very warm in their animal outfits in the heat. Many congratulations to the winners and all who took the time and trouble to enter floats. The various acts in the main arena, once again drew crowds of people and added to the lively atmosphere. It was great to see and experience the Community spirit with thanks going to Vicky Bratt, the Carnival Chairman, and her committee for another year of hard work and planning. The Woman’s Institute event in the main Civic Centre was to their usual high standard and again congratulations to the various winners in the different categories. Hopefully lots of you had a go at the Kurling also in the Civic Centre, lots of laughter was heard anytime I passed. It was lovely to hear and see so many talented adults and children in the tea room, with thanks to the Wombourne School of Music.
Following feedback from children at the local Primary Schools an order has been placed for additional play equipment at Bratch Park. The new equipment will supplement what is already available but is targeted at the younger children. In the next article I will report on the progress but in the meantime, I know Councillor Davies is working hard on this.
Wombourne is one of nine villages in South Staffordshire, where housing sites have been allocated in the SAD (Site Allocations Document). Consultations have been held over the last 4 years starting in March 2014 with exhibitions and drop in session held at the Council Chambers on 10th April 2014, 18th September 2014 and 14th January 2016 which were attended by local residents. After full Examination the Independent Planning Inspector has given South Staffordshire Council the go-ahead to put the SAD in place and it was formally adopted at a meeting of the South Staffordshire Council on 19th June 2018.
In Wombourne three housing sites have been allocated:
- Land off Beggars Bush Lane for a minimum of 80 dwellings (site 302)
- Land off Bridgnorth Road for a minimum of 80 dwellings (site 283)
- Land off Ounsdale Road for a minimum of 19 dwellings (site 281a)
You can see maps of all the sites in the SAD document, pages 127 to 137 at the following website for those who perhaps have not previously been aware of the impending development. https://www.sstaffs.gov.uk/doc/177199/name/App1%20SAD%20Publication%20Plan%20with%20new%20Main%20Mods.pdf/
If you want to see what the Inspector said about the sites in Wombourne you can see this in his Report on pages 35- 36 at the following website. The Report also goes into more detail about other matters such as public consultation, Green Belt appraisal, how South Staffordshire Council selected the sites etc.
Lastly, my personal aspiration is to encourage more community feedback and continue to look forward to seeing residents in the Public Participation sessions before the Full Parish Meetings each month.
Cllr Mary Roberts
Wombourne Parish Council
I would like to start by thanking Cllr John Pike for all his hard work and dedication in the last 12 months as Chairman. His enthusiasm, charming and caring manner makes him a hard act to follow. It would be remiss of me not to mention his consort, and wife, Doreen who has attended many events with John showing the same dedication and enthusiasm. I hope they both enjoy a well-deserved break. Read More “Chairman’s Blog – Spring 2018”
Where has the last year gone. It seems no time at all since I was inducted as the new Parish Chairman, and yet here it is, my last piece for Grapevine in that capacity. It has been a most enjoyable year and for that I must thank my fellow councillors for the great support they have given me. Following in my footsteps will be Cllr Mary Roberts and I wish her well in her new role. Mary, you have plenty of friends around you when you need help. Read More “Chairman’s Blog – Winter 2017”